Just so you know, all of our kids who live with us passed and they passed easily! Unfortunately, 2 of the kids who do not live with us did not pass, but 28 out of 30 is pretty good, and I was very proud of our kids. Son Son was 2nd in his class, Fefe got an 8.4 (which is really high) for 4th control, Woodly got an 8 in the 6th grade (a difficult year), and 3 other kids got higher than an 8 in their classes (for those of you who do not know, an 8 is really really good). All-in-all it was a very successful school year for All Things New, and we are so thankful for everyone who helps and supports us and our children. We will have the same tutors again for 2017-2018, and they did a wonderful job of getting our students prepared to do well in school.
In the class that I started taking this past June, The Challenges of Global Poverty, we just began our unit and lectures on education in impoverished nations. The point of the class is to teach students how to acquire and interpret research findings and in turn use that information to affect public policy as well as the direction of NGOs (like All Things New). We have learned about topics like health care, poverty traps, and food and we have discussed solutions that may work and ones that have not. When it comes to education, there are many different ideas about its place in poverty alleviation and it is not clear how to best change education to work for the poor (Haiti) like it has for the rich (USA). One thing, however, is evident regardless of the experiment and data: Education is important.
Education is important on an individual level because it allows a person to rise above their position in life. Education is important for a family because it allows parents to give their children something that they may never have had. Education is important for a country because as a country becomes more educated, it can begin to make changes for the better. It is very easy to become emotional about a topic like education and formulate theories that education is the single most important aspect of a changing economy. As I argued in a previous blog, I believe that education is not the single most important change that needs to be made in Haiti. In fact, I believe that job creation and an improvement in the local economy will actually change education for the better way before better education could change the job market. There are numerous reasons that I believe this (if there is any interest I could go into it more in a future blog) but it seems like research and randomized experiments are pointing toward this phenomenon as well.
The reason I am saying this is that our kids have the potential to both have a top notch education and, after they graduate, have every opportunity to have jobs waiting for them. This is definitely not the norm here. With your help, every single one of our kids (if they work for it) has the chance to achieve a higher level of education than most people in Haiti and many of our kids have a real shot at graduating High School (something that very rarely happens here). Some of our kids even have a chance to go to college and learn a skill that could help them for the rest of their lives. These same kids, because of our new focus on job creation, will also have the ability to either start or join a business that will provide for their future families. Each year we tell you about how well our children have done in school, and I know it is way more exciting for us here because we know what they are up against and because we are the ones who get to celebrate with the kids. But please do not miss out on what is happening here. So many children here struggle through school with little to no help, many never even get the chance to go, and less than 40% make it to 6th grade. This is not America where kids are forced into an education. This is a place where education is a privilege that only a few people have the means to take advantage of. Because of your help, our kids have that advantage, and we will do everything we can to help them use that advantage to change their future.